Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Little white snail on an opening firewheel

with 20 comments

Where 2020 proved an out-and-out snailfest on the prairie, the prolonged freeze in February of 2021 may explain the dearth of snails I’ve seen this spring. On May 9th I did finally see one on the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville. That little white snail had found its way onto the developing flower head of a firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella, which insisted on opening despite its extra load.

And here’s an unrelated quotation for today: “La plus perdue de toutes les journées est celle où l’on n’a pas ri.” “The most wasted of all our days is the one when we haven’t laughed.” — Sébastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort (1741–1794). Plenty of Internet sites attribute the wording “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter” to e.e. cummings, who liked to write his name in lower case and who wasn’t even born till a hundred years after Chamfort died. Perhaps cummings quoted Chamfort and somebody then mistakenly believed the saying was cummings’s own. Or else someone attributed it to cummings for no good reason at all, and others then copied that without verifying it. Cummings is worth quoting—as long as it’s done correctly. For example, take this assertion: “So far as I am concerned, poetry and every other art was, is, and forever will be strictly and distinctly a question of individuality.” No groupthink for him.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 19, 2021 at 4:31 AM

20 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. You had the right eyes to find this one 🙂


    May 19, 2021 at 4:47 AM

    • Finding this one wasn’t easy. It wasn’t far above the earth, and I had to get on the ground to photograph it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 19, 2021 at 5:26 AM

  2. Amazing how this tiny snail is able to climb up on this thin stalk of a flower!

    Peter Klopp

    May 19, 2021 at 8:32 AM

  3. That dangling snail reminded me of my little Christmas tree with natural decorations that I’ve found: sea shells, starfish, a bur oak acorn from Council Grove, and so on. One thing I enjoy are the small petrified clams and snails I found along a creek on the old place in Kerrville. I have a few that are too large and heavy for the tree, like this 2-1/2″ gem. Apparently slow and steady does pretty well in the evolutionary race, too.


    May 19, 2021 at 10:59 AM

    • This page detailing fossils in Kerr County suggests mine might be Tylostoma.


      May 19, 2021 at 11:01 AM

      • I’m still sometimes impressed by how readily we can find information on the Internet that we’d be hard-pressed to track down in other ways.

        Steve Schwartzman

        May 19, 2021 at 11:37 AM

    • Your mention of “that dangling snail” reminded me in turn of a dangling participle. After all, a small snail is a sort of participle (literally ‘a little part’). That shell you linked to looks like it’s made from the same materials as bricks. Slow and steady indeed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 19, 2021 at 11:35 AM

  4. Love all the color!!


    May 19, 2021 at 4:19 PM

  5. […] Here’s an entry for the “Why can’t they get this figured out once and for all?” category. So you call a company to pay a bill, as I did yesterday. (I’d tried to pay online, had entered all my information, and then the company’s website generated a system error, as it had on other occasions.) The person on the phone asked for the account number and the name on that account. Fine. Then the person asked for the birthday and last four digits of the account holder’s Social Security card. Fine. Then the person asked me for my name and my relationship to the account holder. Okay. Then the person asked for the address, and I gave our house number and street and said it’s in Austin, Texas. This is getting tedious. Then the person wouldn’t go further unless I also gave my ZIP code. I explain that anyone who knows a street address can easily look up the ZIP code online, so the ZIP code provides no additional confirmatory information. The person on the phone was nice and understood what I was saying but explained that management makes her ask for the ZIP code every time anyhow. I told her my opinion of a management that can’t get a website to work properly and that asks customers for unnecessary information, and she and I had some laughs together. At least for her and me this wasn’t one of those wasted days mentioned yesterday in a quotation by Chamfort. […]

  6. Nice find. Amongst all those flowers like a snail in a haystack.

    Steve Gingold

    May 21, 2021 at 3:21 AM

  7. Excellent image, and quote today, Steve!


    May 21, 2021 at 1:00 PM

  8. Interesting how weighty this snail is .. and it’s still hanging on. Great shot Steve


    May 25, 2021 at 4:04 AM

  9. My first thought was, “I bet he had to get on the ground for that shot!”, and I was correct! I love the bright colors, and the snail was a bonus!


    May 28, 2021 at 5:40 PM

    • You thought right. When I’m out photographing I spend a fair amount of time near or on the ground because that’s where so many of my subjects are. The low vantage point in this photograph let me look up at the firewheels, which provided welcome color.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2021 at 6:51 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: